China, Great Power Responsibility, and Global Leadership


Following the 2008 global financial crises and more intensely after the fifth generation of Chinese leaders came to power in 2013, Beijing has set a course to enhance its great power responsibility, to increase its leadership  potential  on  the  world  arena,  and  to  create  China-centered  world  order.  Renouncing  its aspiration to dominate the international system and to impose rules, norms and values on other countries, China nevertheless proposes new initiatives, concepts, and ideas, creates global public goods (such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, “Belt and Road” Initiative, the BRICS’ New Development Bank, the Community of Common Destiny), that promote the establishment of such an international system, where China will play guiding and regulatory role. Lacking the leadership experience in the past, the People’s Republic of China is very cautiously enhancing its great power responsibility by learning and adopting other great powers’ experience in global governance and by taking as much international responsibility as it corresponds China’s current capabilities. The article traces evolution of China’s views on its international responsibility and identifies the specific historical periods. It shows the huge differences between China and Western countries in their perceptions of great power responsibility. The article demonstrates the increasing pressure that Western countries exert on China in this direction and explains the motivation for that. By analyzing Chinese official documents and high level officials’ rhetoric, as well as China’s activities on the world arena, the author determines changes in Beijing’s approaches towards international responsibility and China’s role in  the  international  system.  Identifying  current trends and making prognosis, the author argues that Beijing will further enhance its great power responsibility in the following directions: promoting changes in  the  existing  financial  and  economic system so to make it more fair, balanced, inclusive and rational, enhancing China’s role in global governance, strengthening the role of the UN, and creating the belt of security and prosperity in China’s periphery.


China; great power; international responsibility; global leadership; international system; world order.


Authors: Yana Leksyutina

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